Every five years the window of opportunity opens on Capitol Hill as lawmakers and their staff work together to improve, tweak and reauthorize the federal Child Nutrition Programs. During this time a bevy of questions are asked: what works well? What isn’t working? How can we address new needs? For school nutrition professionals and SNA as the voice of school nutrition, Child Nutrition Reauthorization brings with it a special responsibility to answer these questions in order to ensure quality, healthy, safe meals are provided to children every school day.

The School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program are permanently authorized. However the other child nutrition programs that affect school nutrition operators must be reauthorized every five years. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), State Administrative Expenses (SAE), the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and other smaller pieces of the complete package of child nutrition programs must be renewed because they have actual expiration dates. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 currently expires on June 30, 2009. You will find resources, links and other information on Reauthorization below, continually updated.


USDA Announces Reauthorization Listening Sessions

In preparation for the 2009 reauthorization of the federal child nutrition programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced a series of listening sessions around the country. These listening sessions are a great opportunity for SNA members to voice their thoughts and concerns regarding the school nutrition programs. USDA staff will use the information gathered during these public meetings to shape policy for the 2009 reauthorization bill. All SNA members are strongly encouraged to attend. SNA is currently drafting testimony that highlights the Association's reauthorization priorities.

Please note the following schedule is accurate as of June 2, 2008.

Boston, MA Tip O'Neill Federal Building
10 Causeway St.
Boston, MA 02114
June 10, 2008
10 am - 1 pm
  For more information, call 617-565-5300  
Austin, TX Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Avenue
Austin, TX
July 15, 2008
10 am - 2 pm
  For more information, call 214-290-9800  
Baltimore, MD Enoch Pratt Library Auditorium
400 Cathedral St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
Aug. 6, 2008
8:30 am - 2 pm
  For more information, call 609-259-5059  
San Francisco, CA San Francisco Federal Building
90 Seventh St.
Rooms B020 & B040
San Francisco, CA 94103
Aug. 6, 2008
10 am - 3 pm
  For more information, call 415-705-1311 (x534)  
Atlanta, GA Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center
2nd Floor Conference Center, Room D
61 Forsyth St., SW
Atlanta, GA  30303-8930
Aug. 20, 2008
  For more information, call 404-562-1801  
Chicago, IL FNS Midwest Regional Office Conference Center
77 West Jackson Blvd.  20th Floor
Chicago, IL  60604-3507
Sept. 10, 2008
1 pm - 4 pm
  For more information, call 312-353-6664  
Denver, CO The Colorado History Museum
1300 Broadway
Denver, CO 80203
Sept. 11, 2008
  For more information, call 303-844-0300  

USDA Issues Call for Public Comments

In mid-May USDA issued a request for public comments in the Federal Register: "Request for Public Comments for Use in Preparing the 2009 Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children." The comment period ends October 15, 2008.  Model comments and various other materials representing SNA member priorities will be made available by SNA during the period leading up to October 15th.

USDA states that "Commenters will be asked to address, but not be limited to, issues related to specific aspects of WIC, the WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and Special Milk Program. Key among these are:

  • Strengthening program management and improving nutrition services,
  • Ensuring that all eligible persons have access to program benefits, and
  • Advancing technology and innovation.

These three points are the same as those generally being announced as key topics for the regional listening sessions. They are important topics, but school nutrition professionals should by no means feel limited by them. This comment period and the regional hearings will be important opportunities for school nutrition professionals and others to provide recommendations on improving access, meal quality and nutrition in the programs that are due for reauthorization: school breakfast and lunch, summer feeding, after school and child and adult care food programs, fresh fruit and vegetable program, WIC and the WIC farmers' market nutrition program.


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